The Earth and sun are two of the most underutilized health and longevity improving tools out there. We are SO quick to make a Doctor’s appointment at the first sign of a cold, & don’t think twice about a round of antibiotics to banish said cold. But rarely stop to ask ourselves WHY we are getting sick. I mean it’s just part of being human right? Sometimes we get a hold of some germs that are just a bit too much for our immune system to handle, so our lives take a back seat for a few days while we deal with it and then we’re right back up and going. Truth be told though, the ever so cutely named ‘common cold’ should really not be that common…not to mention things like strep throat or the full blown influenza virus.
There are so many decisions we make in our daily lives that affect our immune systems, yet very few of which you’re told are to blame for your weak ass antibodies. I think most people know by now that the majority of your immune system lives in your intestinal tract, that means that what you eat has a HUGE impact on how often you get hit with a stuffy nose or sore throat. And if you’ve ever taken antibiotics in your life, even one time, all the good bacteria in your gut has been eliminated…which is why it’s so imperative to be taking a high quality probiotic daily (preferably first thing in the morning before any food). Diets which are high in hard to digest foods (animal proteins, saturated fat, gluten etc.) and low in fibre are going to attribute the most to a weakened immune system. There are ways to combat this which I’ll cover later, but the take away for now is; the more efficient your digestion, the better off your overall health will be.
So what the hell do the Earth and the Sun have to do with the cold you had last month? Well there were a good few thousands of years where we didn’t have black out curtains to allow us to sleep at any point in the day, alarm clocks to wake us, or Netflix keeping us awake gazing into unnatural blue light until 3AM, we also didn’t have Nikes attributing to increased sprint speed and creating a barrier between our feet and the Earth. We rose with the sun, walked barefoot, and slept when it got dark, which kept our circadian rhythm on track.
A circadian rhythm is a daily cycle of biological processes that the body undergoes in response to the environment, mostly as a response to sunlight. Early morning light raises the body’s Cortisol hormone, giving us energy and engaging our Sympathetic nervous system, as the sun sets our Cortisol should naturally decrease as the body taps into the Parasympathetic nervous system in preparation for sleep/rest/repair mode. Exposure to the sun is crucial for getting our daily dose of Vitamin D, which regulates immune system function and the absorption of multiple essential nutrients…kind of important. Anyone with a low stress 9 to 5 job who sleeps outside is probably the closest to having a regular circadian rhythm, but realistically who is living stress free, waking at sunrise in a sleeping bag, going to work smiling every day, having dinner by sunset and getting in bed to do it all over again by dark? Some hippy who hates fun probably, it’s obviously not that common for anyone to be living that close to the Earth’s natural rhythms, and that’s ok because we can bio-hack our way back on track. My favorite 🙂
The other half of the puzzle is connecting to the Earth’s natural negative charge. Your immune system functions optimally when your body has an adequate supply of electrons, which are easily and naturally obtained by barefoot contact with the Earth. This is an age old (like, the beginning of time) type of practice but, within the past 50 years people started to figure out how to make money off of the most free thing there ever was besides breathing, and the term ‘Earthing’ was coined. I mean there’s even books written about it (I know because I own one…). Earthing or Grounding as it’s sometimes called is simply taking off your shoes and socks and walking around in the grass. Yep….thats it. Get your bare skin touching the Earth’s natural surface for a minimum of 30 minuets per day and you’ll be amazed at the difference you’ll feel in your energy and health. I personally think that the best time to do this is in the early morning, I have two dogs and the first thing they do when we they get up is walk straight outside and stretch out in the sun for at least 15 minutes. We can learn a lot from natural instinct like that.
To summarize, the best way to keep your immune system strong and functioning properly;
+Eat a plethora of whole fiber rich foods to keep your digestion on track; fruits, vegetables, potatoes, legumes and gluten free whole grains.
+Prioritize micronutrients; living foods, leafy greens etc…vegetable juices are a good way to get a big hit in a small package.
+TAKE A PROBIOTIC, every single morning when you wake up.
+Try and get on a solid schedule with your sleep, wake up before 9AM and be in bed as early as possible, I know you have a DVR, watch The Bachelor tomorrow.
+Get outside and expose as much of your body as you comfortably can to the sun with-out freaking out your neighbors for at least 15 minuets per day.
+Preferably practice this sun exposure barefoot and in the morning, laying on the Earth is just as acceptable if you aren’t trying to get like me and do your yard work in a bikini.
Cold’s are lame, so prioritize your health as much as you do your abs.